The Gift of the Inn (Golden Keyes Parsons) – Review

4 stars

~ About the Book ~

Despite her best efforts to go through the motions and the good fortune to have a husband stationed stateside rather than in the midst of the brutal combat unfolding in Europe and the Pacific, Christmas Eve is a less than festive time for innkeeper Naomi Lockhart. It’s been especially hard since she, her husband, Quenton, and their daughters restored her parents’ Colorado boarding house and turned it into a charming inn. Residing in the setting of the tragedy and haunted by a heartbreaking and terrible loss, Naomi can’t help but relive the Christmas Eve so many years ago when her infant child disappeared without a trace.

Gracie brushed aside comments about how little she resembled her parents for most of her life without really understanding why they made her feel so odd. A slip of the tongue by her grandmother brings the discovery that the people who raised her are not her birth parents and acts as a catalyst for the start of a search for her real identity. After a whirlwind romance with a young, Europe-bound GI and subsequent elopement in defiance of her affluent, traditional parents, Gracie flees Texas for Colorado, following one of the few clues that she has about her real identity. She finds herself alone and working as a waitress in blizzard-prone Colorado Springs, Colorado at the end of her pregnancy. Snow bound, she struggles to bring her child into the world as she becomes ever more confident that the innkeeper from across the road, who acts as a midwife of necessity, may hold the answers she seeks. Meanwhile, her wounded husband desperately tries to reach her side.

Genre:  Historical Fiction
Release date:  1 November 2017
Pages:  300
Publisher:  WhiteFire Publishing

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Excerpt ~

Naomi opened the box she’d left on the sofa and unwrapped the stockings. All six of them had their names sewn in sequins on the cuffs—Quenton, Naomi, Cynthia, Myrna, Elise—and Julia. Each stocking was a different jewel-toned color—Quenton’s a forest green, hers a rich cherry red, Cynthia’s a royal blue, Myrna’s gold, Elise’s deep pink—and Julia’s royal purple.
A large, hand-sewn sequined Christmas tree sparkled on the toe of each one, plus a wreath and a candle decorated the middle. Some of them had snowmen. In addition, her mother had personalized them with handmade emblems or figures to designate each family member’s personal interests. Quenton’s, of course, had an airplane and pilot’s wings. Sequined musical notes twinkled on Naomi’s for her interest in music—piano—although she didn’t play much anymore. The piano she played as a child sat in their dining room, but it simply served as a piece of furniture these days, holding family pictures on its shiny polished top. The girls’ stockings sported dolls and angels and school pennants, and Elise’s had a dog for the puppy she got for Christmas two years ago.
Naomi stopped at Julia’s stocking and traced her finger along the name on the cuff. Only the tree, a wreath, and a candle adorned this stocking. Naomi didn’t know what Julia’s interests were. Was she musical? Did she love sports? Perhaps she was a cheerleader like Cynthia. If she was still…
The night bristled with the cold. And her heart bristled with the still-raw wound of a missing child. Naomi had almost reconciled herself to the fact they would never find their oldest daughter—almost. But somewhere deep in her soul, she had to admit a faint glimmer of hope still flickered. Although if she were honest with herself, that glimmer grew fainter with each passing season. And Christmas was the turning point every year.
Julia would be eighteen now. A young woman. They’d never found a trace of their child, but she could not bear to think that the unspeakable had happened. It was a thought she could never entertain. Julia was still alive. Even if they never found her. She knew in her mother’s heart of hearts that their child still lived.

~ Review ~

Reunion stories are heartwarming at any time of the year, but a Christmas reunion story? For some reason that adds a whole extra layer of warmth, and there’s more than one reunion to be had here.

This story essentially takes place over the course of one day—Christmas Eve—but through flashbacks and memories we experience a number of important times in these characters’ lives: the devastating loss of a child, a war-time romance, a young woman suddenly learning she’s not who she thought she was, a young soldier being shot down over enemy territory, and two families—one hoping for reunion or restoration, the other, reconciliation. All of these stories converge on a stormy Christmas Eve that will lead into a Christmas they’ll never forget.

I may have known from early on how parts of this story were going to play out, but that didn’t stop the tears from welling when the moment—or moments—came. The anticipation, watching and waiting for the pieces to come together, was part of what made this story engaging. And there was a sweet epilogue that drew the story together at the end and put the focus firmly back on the real Christmas story.

If you’re looking for a feel-good Christmas read to get the happy tears flowing, then this is the book you’re after.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.

~ About the Author ~

Golden ParsonsGolden Keyes Parsons was a popular retreat and conference speaker, author of historical novels and an ordained pastor.

Her book, “In The Shadow Of The Sun King,” (Thomas Nelson Publishing), first in a three-book series based on her family genealogy, released Fall 2008, and was named a finalist in the ACFW’s Book of the Year Debut Author category. The book chronicles the saga of the Clavell family in 17th century France, where, as French Huguenots, they suffer persecution at the hands of Louis XIV’s Catholic government. The second book, “A Prisoner Of Versailles,” was released September 2009 and was named a finalist in the prestigious RWA Daphne award for best Historical Romantic Suspense for 2009. “Prisoner” was also a finalist in the AWSA Golden Scroll Award contest. Book Three, “Where Hearts Are Free” released Fall 2010 and was a Women of Faith library selection.

Her fourth book, “His Steadfast Love” A Civil War novel set in Texas released in November 2011 and was a finalist for the RWA’s National Reader’s Choice award.

Her biblical fiction compilation, “Hidden Faces: Portraits of Nameless Women in Scripture” (Whitefire Publishing) released in the spring of 2014. And her non-fiction “Spiritual Spring Cleaning” (BoldVision Books) released in the spring of 2015.

Golden went to be with her Saviour on 16 February 2017. She is survived by her husband of almost 55 years, her three daughters and eight grandchildren.


About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, New Releases and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Gift of the Inn (Golden Keyes Parsons) – Review

  1. debraemarvin says:

    I loved all of Golden’s books that I read and my heart aches that we’ve lost her. Being an author was just a portion of all the giving to others she had. She was one of those people you never forget meeting because she was so gracious and warm. I’m so glad you’re reviewing this book. I hadn’t known of it before. Thanks Katie!

    Liked by 1 person

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